Have you ever dated a great guy – he was thoughtful, brought you flowers, taking you out for dinner 3 times a week, stayed in contact often, called you when he was stuck in traffic just to hear your voice? And then, as if by some voodoo magic, your great thoughtful guy gradually morphed into the complete opposite – gone are the flowers, he suggests take out at your place, the calls are less and less frequent. You try ask him what’s up? (Inside you’re anxious that he’s losing interest.) When suddenly – he dropped off the face of the Earth.
There are a lot of conventional-wisdom articles out there that tell you the reasons why men pull away:
- You’re too needy and pushed him away
- He needs time/space to think
- He’s not that into you
Does not sound very encouraging, does it? Nor does it make an ounce of common sense, for that matter. Why would a guy go out of his way to secure your interest, only to run away and leave you hanging? He must be a jerk… or… is there something else going on here?
Men are slightly ahead of the baggage curve
There are some unsavory truths (or at least theories) that I am about to reveal. These cannot be overlooked if you want a successful relationship with a man.
Unlike us ladies, the man you’re interested in already has a primary relationship with a woman – his mother. Since his early years, she was the object of his love (or hate), but it’s a strong bond a mother will usually forge with her son – she gave birth to her ‘perfect man’ (and likely replaced her neglectful husband with her little prince for emotional fulfillment). Mothers rarely have that kind of bond with their daughters.
Whatever their relationship is in adult-hood, he will rarely refuse her requests – often out of obligation rather than love. He cannot run away from her even if he really wants to – she’s his flesh and blood. This woman has taught him that her love is conditional, and he likely heard the words “I’m really disappointed in you” many times.
When men date a woman
It took me several occasions of having my heart put through the meat-grinder by ‘decent’ guys to finally figure some things out. All the men I was in a relationship with were extremely averse to even a hint of conflict or argument or any kind of negative feedback – they shut down. Does that sound familiar?
When a man decides to pursue a woman – he’s infatuated and thinks he must have her in his life, because she is so wonderful in his eyes and will give him the “perfec”t love he didn’t receive. That’s why he will pull all the stops when trying to woo her. Once her interest is confirmed, and they become a couple – the connection between the two begins to raise his level of anxiety.
So, what happens next? He sees you delight at his presence, his gifts, his attentions. You have no reason to doubt the relationship because he’s been nothing but consistent and reassuring. Then he begins to think: “She loves the flowers, waits for my regular phone calls, and is accustomed to dinners out every week. Do I have to now keep up the routine because she’s now expecting all these things from me on daily basis???”
To him, what was once a very special gesture, often spontaneous and solely of his intent, has become an expected given. Any hint of EXPECTATION will make him hyperventilate, because he feels he’s losing his role as a chivalrous man, and expected to assume the role of a man who’s obliged.
To escape such fate, and to regain control (of his self – cause he’s convinced you want to own him), he begins to back-peddle. He hopes you either won’t notice, or he may be consciously showing you – “hey, don’t take these things and me as a given”.
But of course you do notice. And while you basked in his attention, you became addicted to the buzz. Once he pulls the rug from underneath – you experience the withdrawal symptoms from that buzz. You aren’t feeling so good, and attempt to find out why things changed.
At which point, not only does he feels “confirmed” in his suspicions that you were EXPECTING his attentions to continue to be lavished on you. Which causes even more anxiety for him. And, on top of it – if you are now unhappy with him, his self-esteem takes a hit. And he makes the decision to be gone and stay gone.
From the Female Perspective
You were perfectly happy you found such a great guy, who spared no attentions for you, just to see you smile. He was consistent, which allowed you to trust him and drop your guard. He now became absolutely inconsistent, which feels like your trust has been betrayed and you feel hurt and angry.
For you: CONSISTENCY = SECURITY = TRUST = LOVE
For him: CONSISTENCY = LOSS OF AUTONOMY = RESENTMENT = EXIT
Freedom vs Security
The funny thing is that Freedom and Security are mutually exclusive. And both are absolutely useless in our lives – no one wants Total Freedom or Total Security. Why? Think about people who do have Total Freedom, i.e – the homeless. They don’t have to answer to no one and can (in theory) do what they want with their day. On the opposite spectrum, people who have Total Security, i.e – the inmates in maximum security (pun intended) prison. Their days follow a predictable routine. But no one wants to be homeless or incarcerated, right?
We strike a balance between the Freedom and Security every day – you might hate your job, where your Freedoms are limited, but you like the regular paycheck that provides the Security.
How to put a stop to men running away in their winged Nikes from you
Easy. Don’t give the man a sense of Total (Maximum, hehehe) Security in You! Don’t give him your heart and soul completely, and the assurance that you will always be there and available. Even though it comes so naturally to us women to give completely when we are falling in love with someone, it is the exact kryptonite to trigger the Freedom fears in the man. And his way of leveling this off is not only the least optimal – it’s almost Neanderthalean.
So many times when women are labled as ‘insecure’ is because they try to obtain the security from their man – to get him ‘on board’ with it, so to speak. This rarely works. Instead, (even though you’re madly in love with him) he needs to know, that both of you are ‘flight-risk’ and therefore denied bail. 😉
I know it may seem like ‘playing games’ and can be a hard concept to understand logically for us women (yes, I believe women are much pro-common sense). However, your man’s knee-jerk reaction to flee is an emotional decision (because of the underlying anxiety he’ll never admit to), therefore if you can act logically – it will diffuse his fears.
Remember that once he gets that hunch to back-peddle (emotional), try sending him a message that while you enjoy his company and attentions, they are his to gift to you, and not yours to take from him, just like your own (rational). This will immediately make him question his behavior and think: “Oh wow, she’s awesome. Why am I messing things up?”
A practical example would be: you haven’t heard from him in a few days, and leave a voicemail (cause he doesn’t pick up). While it’s ok to think “you, !@#$ jerk!”, instead you say in a calm tone: “Hey, you’re probably swamped this week, I can understand. Just wanted to let you know I am going to Tokyo (hiking in the Appalachians, be in a Bermuda triangle, whatever… be creative yet plausible) for a week for business (or, with some friends) and I will have no cell reception.” And if resources permit – actually go!
This kind of message (sigh, yes, strategic communication – but men are accustomed to this) shows that you care, you are understanding, and bingo – unreachable for some time. All the attractive qualities (LOL) that will ease his fears about you sinking your fingers into him for dear life (equally, LOL). You have now given yourself Freedom, and him less Security.
Although, as ladies – we want to communicate authentically, be open and be loving (all the things men say they want… until they get them), we must balance the forces of Power, Security and Freedom with our partner, or suffer another heart-break. This may feel like a game of BS, but remember if your partner started it first – be a worthy contender and win his heart!